Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Type Subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company
Industry Theme Parks
Founded 1954
Headquarters Burbank, California, U.S.
Key people Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman
Products Theme Parks
Owner(s) The Walt Disney Company
Divisions Disneyland Resort
Walt Disney World Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort
Disneyland Paris
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Vacation Club
Adventures by Disney
Disney Regional Entertainment
Walt Disney Imagineering
Walt Disney Creative Entertainment
Website The Walt Disney Company

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is the segment of The Walt Disney Company that conceives, builds, and manages the company's theme parks and holiday resorts, as well as a variety of additional family-oriented leisure enterprises. It is one of four major business segments of the company, the other three being Consumer Products, Media Networks, and Studio Entertainment.

The Parks and Resorts division was founded in 1971 as Walt Disney Attractions when Disney's second theme park, the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, opened, joining the original Disneyland in California. The chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is Thomas O. Staggs, formerly the Senior Executive Vice President and CFO. Staggs reports to Disney CEO Robert Iger.

In 2009, the company's theme parks hosted approximately 119.1 million guests, making Disney Parks the world's most visited theme park company,[1] ahead of the second most visited, Merlin Entertainments.


Disney Resorts

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort logo

Disneyland was dedicated as a single park by Walt Disney on July 17, 1955, and opened to the public on July 18, 1955 in Anaheim, California.

In 2001 the site expanded significantly and was renamed the Disneyland Resort with the opening of Disney's California Adventure Park (now Disney California Adventure Park); two hotels, one new and one rethemed; and the Downtown Disney retail, dining and entertainment district. The resort occupies 500 acres (2.0 km2), and consists of:

Theme parks:

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:


Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort logo

The Walt Disney World Resort opened Oct. 1, 1971, with the Magic Kingdom theme park and three resort hotels. Today it is the largest (by area) and most-visited vacation resort in the world, with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, 23 resort hotels, eight golf courses and several additional recreational activities.

Theme parks:

Water parks:

Other parks:

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:


Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort logo

Tokyo Disney Resort, located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, opened April 15, 1983. On September 4, 2001, the resort expanded with Tokyo DisneySea. There are several resort hotels on site, but only three are actually owned by the resort, which boasts the largest parking structure in the world. Tokyo Disney Resort is fully owned and operated by The Oriental Land Company and is licensed by the Walt Disney Company. The resort was built by Walt Disney Imagineering, and Disney maintains a degree of control; Nick Franklin leads the Walt Disney Attractions Japan team at the Walt Disney Company, which communicates with the Oriental Land Company over all aspects of the Resort, and assigns Imagineers to the Resort. Its properties, listed below, are divided into parks, shopping centers, and lodging.


Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:


Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris logo

Disneyland Paris, Disney's second resort complex outside the United States, opened on April 12, 1992, as the Euro Disney Resort. Located in Marne-la-Vallée in the suburbs of Paris, France, it features two theme parks, a golf course, an entertainment complex and six Disney resort hotels. It is maintained and managed by Euro Disney S.C.A., a company partially owned by the Walt Disney Company whose stock is traded on Euronext. Its properties sit on 4,940 acres (20.0 km2), listed below, and are divided into parks, shopping centers, and lodging:


Other parks:

Shopping, dining and entertainment complex:


Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort logo

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Disney's fifth resort and its second in Asia, opened September 12, 2005. The resort is located in Penny's Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Currently, the resort consists of one theme park and two hotels, with land reserved for future expansion. It is owned and operated by Hong Kong International Theme Parks, an incorporated company jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company and the Government of Hong Kong. The first phase of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort occupies 320 acres (1.3 km2).


Other park:

  • Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre


Shanghai Disney Resort

Shanghai Disney Resort logo

In November 2009, Disney received approval from the central government of China to build a Disney theme park in the Pudong district of Shanghai. "China is one of the most dynamic, exciting and important countries in the world and this approval marks a very significant milestone for Walt Disney Co in mainland China," said Robert Iger, president and CEO of Disney.[2] The resort is expected to open in 2014. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 7, 2011. [3]


  • Shanghai Disneyland Park

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line logo

Disney Cruise Line was formed in 1995. Its fleet is currently composed of three ships, with another coming soon. The Disney Magic began operation in 1998, the Disney Wonder in 1999, and the Disney Dream in 2011. An additional ship, the Disney Fantasy, will begin operation in March 2012. Each of the ships were designed in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering.

Disney Cruise Line offers three, four and five-night cruises in the Bahamas; seven-night Alaskan cruises; seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises; and seven-night Caribbean cruises. The Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries include a stop at Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. In 2012, Disney Cruises will depart from Port Canaveral, Los Angeles, Seattle, Galveston and New York.



Disney Regional Entertainment

Disney Regional Entertainment logo

Disney Regional Entertainment was the division of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts which developed and operated unique concepts. It previously operated the Club Disney, DisneyQuest and ESPN Zone concepts. The only remaining DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort is now operated directly by the resort. The only two remaining ESPN Zone restaurants in Los Angeles and Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort are operated by third parties.


  • ESPN Zone, a chain of sports-themed restaurants.
  • Club Disney, a now-closed chain of children's entertainment centers.
  • DisneyQuest, an indoor arcade with traditional and virtual reality experiences.

Other ventures

Abandoned concepts

Disney reportedly had plans to build a park named Disney's America. The park was to have been located in Haymarket, Virginia, but local opposition to the idea persuaded Disney to abandon the idea in 1994.[4]

Before Disney's California Adventure, Disney originally had announced plans for a West Coast version of Epcot, WestCOT, which was deemed too ambitious after the rocky financial performance of Euro Disney in France as well as protests by residents of Anaheim.

Another concept for a Disney park in California was Port Disney, to be built in Long Beach next to the RMS Queen Mary which Disney owned at the time. The park was to have led to a permanent West Coast ship in the Disney Cruise Line, which would dock at the park. The concept, although quickly scrapped, inspired the Imagineers to create Tokyo DisneySea.

Future projects

Asian and European projects

Both Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris have room for future expansion.[5]

In November 2009, Disney received approval from the Chinese government to build a Disneyland resort in the Pudong district of Shanghai.[6] The resort is expected to open in 2014.[3]

In early January 2011, conflicting reports emerged regarding Disney's involvement in a proposed entertainment complex in Haifa, Israel, whose plans include a small (30,000 square meter) amusement park scheduled to open in 2013. The project will be partially funded by Shamrock Holdings, a Disney-affiliated investment firm. In the wake of reports from Israeli business newspaper Globes and industry newswire Amusement Management that Disney itself would be involved in the project's development, a spokesperson for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts clarified to Fast Company that Disney did not have any plans to involve itself in the building of the park.[7]

Hong Kong Disneyland expansion

Rita Lau, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development for Hong Kong, announced that the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland had been approved by the Executive Council on June 30, 2009, and also approved by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong on July 10, 2009. The park will receive three new lands; Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land. Construction began in late 2009 and will take 5 years to complete. The park will feature a total of seven themed lands after the completion of all the new additions.

American projects

Disney has made no announcements regarding plans for another American theme park and CEO Robert Iger frequently has cited international expansion as one of the company's three strategic priorities.[8]

The only site that is extremely short on land is Disneyland Resort in California. Although the company has acquired enough real estate to build a potential third theme park on a former strawberry farm near the existing resort, Robert Iger has stated that the company's focus in Anaheim is to improve its second park, Disney's California Adventure, before building a third. The strawberry fields were purchased in 2004 for $99.9 million with a requirement to harvest them until 2009. The remainder of the original Disneyland parking lot, southeast of Disney's California Adventure, was designated as a future growth space for the park. Since the park's opening in 2001, three small projects have been built into that space (A Bug's Land, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and a backstage warehouse) while a third, much larger project known as Cars Land is currently being built.

In October 2007, Disney announced plans to build a resort at Ko Olina Resort & Marina in Kapolei, Hawaii, featuring both a hotel and Disney Vacation Club timeshare units. Scheduled to open in 2011, the 800-unit property to be named Aulani will join the other resorts not associated with a theme park, such as Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina.[9]

In September 2011, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans to partner with filmmaker James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment production company, along with 20th Century Fox, to develop theme park attractions based on Cameron's Avatar film franchise, with the first installation planned for Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in the form of an Avatar-based section of the park. While no specific plans or attractions were announced, construction on the new area is expected to begin by 2013.[10] Disney also secured exclusive global theme parks rights to the Avatar franchise.[11]


1950s and 1960s

1970s and 1980s


2000s and 2010s

  • 2001 - Disney's California Adventure and Downtown Disney open at Disneyland Resort; Tokyo DisneySea opens at Tokyo Disney Resort. "100 Years of Magic" Celebration begins to commemorate Walt Disney's 100th Birthday.
  • 2002 - Walt Disney Studios Park opens as the second theme park at the newley renamed Disneyland Resort Paris. The first park is renamed Disneyland Park.
  • 2003 - Construction on Hong Kong Disneyland begins. "100 Years of Magic" Celebration ends and "Where Magic Lives" campaign begins.
  • 2005 - "Where Magic Lives" campaign ends; Disneyland celebrates its 50th anniversary as part of a worldwide jubilee among all Disney's theme parks worldwide; Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opens September 12 on Lantau Island, Hong Kong; Walt Disney World announces that River Country will remain closed permanently.
    Corp icon million.jpg
  • 2006 - The Happiest Homecoming on Earth ends, and immediately the Year of a Million Dreams promotional period at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts begins.
  • 2007 - The Year of a Million Dreams promotion is extended another year. A one billion dollar expansion/renovation of Disney's California Adventure is announced to be completed by 2012. Disneyland Resort Paris celebrates its 15th anniversary.
  • 2008 - Disneyland Resort Paris' 15th Birthday is extended and Tokyo Disney Resort celebrates its 25th anniversary. Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World is renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios. Two new cruise ships are announced for the Disney Cruise Line.
  • 2009 - Year of a Million Dreams ends and What Will You Celebrate? promotion begins at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Disney announces a new resort, Shanghai Disneyland, expected to open in 2014 on the Chinese mainland, and announces that the Disney Cruise Line's new ships will be called Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Disney lays off 1,500 cast members. Disney announces plans for a Fantasyland expansion for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park to begin construction January 2010 and finish in phases. Phase 1 is to be completed in 2012, while Phase 2 is to be completed in 2013.
  • 2010 - Give a Day, Get a Disney Day campaign promotes volunteerism in the US. Disneyland Resort celebrates its 55th anniversary. Walt Disney World introduces its Summer Magic campaign, and the Main Street Electrical Parade reappears at the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland Resort Paris changes its name back to Disneyland Paris and begins construction of a new land in Walt Disney Studios Park: Toy Story Playland, which opened in August 2010. The Disney Dream cruise ship finishes construction ahead of its maiden voyage on January 26, 2011.
  • 2011 - What Will You Celebrate? Promotion ends. Let the Memories Begin marketing campaign begins, using new enhanced video projection technology to project images of park guests on Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and on It's a Small World at Disneyland. The Disney Dream begins service in late January and Disney Cruise Line announces the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy to be March 31, 2012. Groundbreaking for Shanghai Disneyland takes place on April 8.

Executive Management

  • Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts - Thomas O. Staggs
    • President of Worldwide Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts - Al Weiss
      • President, Disneyland Resort - George Kalogridis
        • Senior Vice President of Operations, Disneyland Resort - Michael O'Grattan
          • Vice President, Disneyland Park - Jon Storbeck
          • Vice President, Disney California Adventure Park - Mary Niven
          • Vice President, Downtown Disney and Disneyland Resort Hotels - Tony Bruno
      • President, Walt Disney World Resort - Meg Crofton
        • Senior Vice President of Operations and Next Generation Experiences, Walt Disney World Resort - Jim MacPhee
        • Senior Vice President of Operations, Walt Disney World Resort - George Aguel
          • Vice President, Magic Kingdom - Phil Holmes'
          • Vice President, Epcot - Dan Cockerell
          • Vice President, Disney's Hollywood Studios - Rilous Carter
          • Vice President, Disney's Animal Kingdom - Michael Colglazier
          • Vice President, Downtown Disney - Keith Bradford
          • Vice President, Resort Operations - Kevin Myers
          • Vice President, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney Water Parks - Ken Potrock
          • Vice President, Transportation Operations and Maintenance - Jim Vendur
          • Vice President, Global Promotions, Disney Destinations LLC.– Greg Albrecht
      • Chairman and CEO, Disneyland Paris (Euro Disney SCA) - Philippe Gas
        • Senior Vice President of Operations, Disneyland Paris - Joe Schott
      • President and Managing Director, Asia, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts - Bill Ernest
        • Managing Director, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort - Andrew Kam
          • Vice President, Park Operations - Noble Coker
          • Vice President, Hotel Operations - Peter Lowe
          • Vice President, Marketing - Maple Lee
          • Vice President, Sales and Travel Trade Marketing - Aliana Ho
        • Chairman and CEO, Tokyo Disney Resort (Oriental Land Company) - Toshio Kagami
          • President and Chief Operations Officer, Tokyo Disney Resort (Oriental Land Company) - Kyoichiro Uenishi
          • President of Walt Disney Attractions Japan - Nick Franklin
            • Vice President and Executive Managing Director, Walt Disney Attractions Japan - Dave Vermeulen
      • President, Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations - Karl Holz
        • Senior Vice President of Operations, Disney Cruise Line - Tom Wolber
      • President, Disney Vacation Club - Claire Bilby
      • Senior Vice President, Adventures by Disney - Ed Baklor
    • Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering - Bruce Vaughn
    • Chief Design and Project Delivery Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering - Craig Russell
    • Senior Vice President of Operations Integration/line of Business - Erin Wallace
    • Senior Vice President, Conservation & Environmental Sustainability - Jerry Montgomery
    • Senior Vice President of Global Sports Enterprises - Ken Potrock
    • Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility - Kerry Chandler
    • Senior Vice President of Worldwide Travel Operations - Kevin Lansberry
    • Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion - Jayne Parker
    • Executive Vice President, Public Affairs - Kristin Nolt Wingard
    • Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer - Jim Hunt
    • Executive Vice President, Global Marketing - Leslie Ferraro
    • Executive Vice President, International Development - Mike Crawford
    • Executive Vice President, New Business Development and Next Generation Experiences - Nick Franklin


  1. ^ "TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2009". www.themeit.com. 2010-04-26. http://teaconnect.org/etea/2009ThemeIndex.pdf. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  2. ^ "UPDATE 4-Disney takes China stride as Shanghai park gets nod". Reuters. November 4, 2009. http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssTechMediaTelecomNews/idUSN0352328120091104. 
  3. ^ a b "Disney To Bring Magic Kingdom To Shanghai". Sky News. 2010-11-05. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Business/Disneyland-China-Disney-Agrees-A-Deal-To-Open-Amusement-Park-In-Shanghai/Article/201011115795782?f=rss. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  4. ^ "On September 28, 1994, Michael Eisner announced that Disney was cancelling its plans to build Disney's America after a bruising national media fight with Protect Historic America and aggressive local opposition in Virginia from Protect Prince William and other citizen groups." http://chotank.com/disneyrom.html
  5. ^ "Disney in talks to open theme park in Shanghai - report". AFX News Limited. 2006-02-07. http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2006/02/07/afx2507986.html. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  6. ^ http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsworld.php?id=452465
  7. ^ Ungerleider, Neal. "Disney to Open Theme Park in Israel?" Fast Company. January 5, 2011.
  8. ^ Portfolio.com, Top Executive Profiles, Robert A. Iger http://www.portfolio.com/resources/executive-profiles/39787
  9. ^ Schaefers, Allison (2007-10-04). "Aloha, Disney". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://starbulletin.com/2007/10/04/news/story01.html. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  10. ^ http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2011/09/avatar-coming-to-disney-parks/
  11. ^ http://www.wesh.com/themeparks/29244652/detail.html

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